Monday, 25 February 2008

Thank you Khevyn

After four months of listening to members, seeking nominations, putting my case and the odd bicycle puncture, the end is almost in site.

This Saturday at the Freedom Centre I was honoured that the General Management Committee of the Hull East Labour Party voted me onto the shortlist.

I also have to say I'm really proud to be carrying the standard of USDAW into the hustings after being nominated by both their branches.

All I ever wanted was to be able to put my case to party members in three weeks time. So to everyone who's supported me so far, thank you so much.

But it is tinged with some disappointment. During this selection, I've made a good friend in Khevyn Limbajee (pictured above.) Khevyn, who grew up in Hull and has been a keen activist down in London, was a great candidate.

In fact, during this contest he was also fighting a council by-election in Leyton! I really don't know where he found the energy but he never once complained.

Throughout this selection, he conducted himself with dignity, grace and great humour. He made a big impression on all those he met, including me.

I'm certain that he'll make another CLP very proud by becoming their candidate. And I for one, will be there out on the streets campaigning for him.

So remember Khevyn. Never quit.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

It's the rights time

201 years ago the House of Commons saw a mighty victory for social justice, fairness and equality. After a long and determined campaign, the slave trade was abolished.

On Friday, the campaign to abolish poverty pay and grant equality for all workers comes to the same house with the Temporary and Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill.

Whilst it might not be as emotive a subject, this Private Members bill would give our 1.4 million agency workers the same rights and pro-rata pay as full-time workers.

That means the same rights to holidays, decent working hours and sick pay.

It's a win-win for workers - agency workers will see their pay and conditions go on a par with those who work full time and permanent workers will be in a stronger position by abolishing the race to the gutter through a two tier workforce.

The CBI claims Britain will be less competitive and 250,000 are at stake. Big business said the same about the minimum wage but it in fact corrected underpayment by employers and created jobs. While costs rose, employers had no incentive to cut jobs.

As ex-CBI Director General Adair Turner found when he reviewed the minimum wage he in 2003 as Chair of the Low Pay Commission: "The national minimum wage has brought benefits to over one million low-paid workers. It has done so without any significant adverse impact on business or employment."

I'm sure the Government will find a way to address this issue - there's already talk of an inquiry into the treatment of temporary and agency workers, which is a positive step forward. But I hope that this Friday MPs send a strong message by backing the bill and helping it progress to its second reading to keep this issue in the spotlight.

It took Wilberforce 20 years to see his dream come true.

Let's hope that the 1.4 million workers with poor holiday entitlement, sick pay and sub-standard wages won't have to wait that long.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Thank you

The point of this blog was to write down a few thoughts and ideas about home, Labour and the issues people care about. In East Hull, we’re selecting the person whose job it is to combine the three.

I made a decision right at the start not to give a running commentary on the selection process - so I won't.

But I just wanted to say how honoured I was to secure the nomination of Southcoates West on Tuesday.

This selection process has been such an unbelievable journey. I really don't know where or when it's going to end but I'm very proud to have been given the chance to meet, talk and most importantly, listen to members over the last few months.

All I ever wanted was to put my case to them face-to-face and I'm delighted that I'm getting the opportunity to do it.

So thank you.

UPDATE - I'm also very proud to have won the nomination for Ings ward - where I went to school.